Statement of the Munduruku Ipereg Ayu Movement – May 28, 2021
The entirety of the Munduruku people are indignant about the decision to cancel the operations of the Federal Police in our region. This operation cannot end now, right when illegal gold-miners are attacking our leaders. It is incomprehensible why law enforcement would leave our territory at this moment of so much danger to us. We’re screaming out for help!
We demand that this law enforcement against illegal mining be continued, and that the security forces return to expel all the miners that are still operating within our lands and ensure the safety of our people. The mines have not yet been closed, and our villages and leaders continue to be attacked and threatened. On May 26, criminals firing their guns invaded the village at Fazenda Tapajós and set houses ablaze.
Other Munduruku villages have been threatened, along with more of our leaders. If the authorities do not arrest who is threatening us, we will die and it will be the fault of the federal government and everyone who has encouraged this wave of violence. We are dying: poisoned by the mercury they use in the mines, and in danger of being murdered outright by the invading miners themselves.
The miners mounted a protest, then attacked the National Security Forces directly. After that, the law enforcement operation was completely withdrawn from our region. This operation that was supposed to end illegal mining ended up heeding the demands of the illegal miners, who wanted above all to send the security forces packing. Meanwhile, Indigneous leaders who protect our territory are living in constant fear that the worst will happen. We no longer have peace for our families within our own land and within our own homes.
With the departure of the security forces that promised to protect us, we are left to our own devices now in the middle of the conflict. The pariwat (whites) continue to set us against each other, without worrying about showing respect for our territory, our culture, our lives, or the future of our children. The government once again has made a premeditated move to kill us in our own land. This was a farce announced to protect criminals, an operation that failed to close mines within the Munduruku Indigenous Territory and which failed to prevent attacks on our leaders. The security forces have been scared away now, pressured by criminals, and as they go they are legitimizing all these illegal practices and giving strength to the invaders. We no longer want this type of inefficient operation, which leaves us even more unprotected. We want the State to have a lasting and effective presence. The government must fulfill its constitutional duty to protect Indigenous lands, must comply with judicial decisions and prosecutorial recommendations to remove illegal mining from our lands, and must above all act affirmatively to protect the lives of our people.
–Tr. Jeremy M. Campbell, May 28, 2021